Blog Post

Don’t Count Samsung’s Bada Out of the Smartphone Game

Samsung, the No. 2 mobile handset maker globally, continues to make progress with its own Bada platform for smartphones, particularly with applications and developers. The Samsung Apps store for Bada phones has expanded to 118 countries and is on track to exceed 50 million cumulative software downloads this month, reports the GSMA’s Mobile App Briefing. A recent developer contest for Bada apps also attracted 2,077 developer teams, helping to spur interest in software development for the platform, which is selling well.

The update on Samsung’s Bada app store progress reinforces positive sales numbers of Bada handsets just last month; the recent quarter ending in September saw 1.3 million Samsung Bada users worldwide. Those numbers were good enough for Samsung’s young platform to snag two percent of the global smartphone market share, prompting our own Colin Gibbs to demonstrate how Samsung’s Bada could win big, even in a smartphone world currently filled with Symbian (s nok), Android (s goog), BlackBerry (s rimm) and iOS (s aapl) devices.

Samsung hedged its resource bets last year by developing Bada at the same time the company jumped on the Android train: another wise move that has resulted in sales of more than five million Samsung Galaxy S handsets as well as one million Galaxy Tab slates running on Android. And 300,000 daily Android phone activations per day isn’t hurting Samsung’s Android play either.

Initially, I questioned the idea of Samsung creating its own smartphone operating system, but the sales numbers are proving me wrong for now. Samsung’s Bada sales are far less than that of its Android devices, but the company shows promise in its platform: it offers Bada apps in roughly three times more countries than Google does with its Android Market, for example. The application catalog for Bada is sparse relative to that of Apple or Google, and Samsung won’t say exactly how many apps there are, but 50 million downloads in just over a year of existence is solid for any store.

Will Bada compete against the “big boys” as a top-tier smartphone platform? Perhaps not, but for now, Samsung has given it a chance by building an ecosystem targeted at a half-dozen phone models. It may not be as glitzy or full-featured when compared to iOS, Android and others, but Bada appears to be hitting the sweet-spot between feature phones and high-end smartphones.

Image courtesy Flickr user Tom Purves.

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4 Responses to “Don’t Count Samsung’s Bada Out of the Smartphone Game”

  1. Don’t confuse wholesale channels with individual Consumer choice.

    Samsung offers carriers huge discounts on block purchase of Bada handsets – so carriers buy’em. That same carrier doesn’t release sales-by-OS data, or if they do, it’s buried 100 pages deep in the stockholders report.

    • Todd, are you suggesting that Samsung is on the only handset maker that negotiates discounted, volume handset deals with carriers? Even if that were true, which I highly doubt, that doesn’t mean Samsung sold 1.3 million Bada phones to unhappy users. If that were the case, I don’t see how the company could be seeing 50 million downloads from its App store.

      I’m not suggesting that Bada is making up a huge portion of Samsung’s current smartphone sales – clearly it’s not based on the Galaxy S numbers alone. But to simply dismiss their effort with a fluff reason seems a little shortsighted to me.